Discretion vs. not at RIA

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Jun 15, 2009 10:23 am

Are most RIA's using discretionary accounts for their clients?  If so, are they basically running different models for clients (i.e. Income, moderate income, growth, etc.) and doing trading for all clients?  In other words, do most RIA's just have to make model changes that apply to all clients, or do they have to trade for literally each of their cleints, similar to a broker situation?


Upside? Downside? to this model?
Jun 15, 2009 3:32 pm

Discretionary basis for us, and I think that's true with all RIA's.  We have a few clients that have some non-disc. purchases in their account, but we just don't bill them for those as we don't track them.

We put everyone in a model, and make model decisions, and filter those trades throughout all the accounts.

Jun 15, 2009 3:47 pm
eman07:

Discretionary basis for us, and I think that's true with all RIA's.  We have a few clients that have some non-disc. purchases in their account, but we just don't bill them for those as we don't track them.

We put everyone in a model, and make model decisions, and filter those trades throughout all the accounts.

 
Have you ever been in a position where a client's non-disc position totally tanks and they are upset with you for "not telling them" or not selling it?
Jun 15, 2009 3:54 pm
eman07:

Discretionary basis for us, and I think that's true with all RIA's.  We have a few clients that have some non-disc. purchases in their account, but we just don't bill them for those as we don't track them.

We put everyone in a model, and make model decisions, and filter those trades throughout all the accounts.

 
What kind of models?  ETF? Actively managed? Individual securities? combination?
Jun 15, 2009 9:04 pm

We have 5 models - all funds.



If we change one of the models and the allocation, the trades can then be done across all accounts within that particular model at one time. We use 12 funds, and all portfolios have the same funds... just different allocations from model to model.    We don't have to initiate individual trades.... just adjust the model, build the client groups, and hit the button... the rest is done without a single call to a client.



We papered 98% of our accounts with discretionary authority. The vast majority of the investment public that has any interest in hiring an advisor has little desire to listen to the rationale behind why you are allocating more funds to a global fixed income manager.... So, discretion, models, and simplicity rule our practice.



Upside - ease of use, more time spent with clients, more time on investment research, and adding quality clients.



Downside - multiple trades all done within a few minutes.... hope and prayers that it always works! (and it has, so far)



My firm has 7 members - three of us serve on the investment committee. We meet monthly (sometimes more frequently depending on conditions) concerning any model changes. We refine our decisions on a macro-level, then carry out the specific fund allocations and changes on the model level. Trades are done the following afternoon.



I can't imagine EVER going back to the way it was done at the wirehouse - horribly inefficient!



C





Jun 16, 2009 9:50 am

I agree Captain.  It's one of things I don't care for in my world.  Calling endlessly on clients to rebalance/shift strategy is a complete waste of time.  I can't fathom how some advisors that have 700, 800, 1000 clients or more could ever possibly get that done.  And they don't, which is why clients get killed in bad markets.

Jun 16, 2009 11:14 pm
Captain:

We have 5 models - all funds.



If we change one of the models and the allocation, the trades can then be done across all accounts within that particular model at one time. We use 12 funds, and all portfolios have the same funds... just different allocations from model to model.    We don't have to initiate individual trades.... just adjust the model, build the client groups, and hit the button... the rest is done without a single call to a client.



We papered 98% of our accounts with discretionary authority. The vast majority of the investment public that has any interest in hiring an advisor has little desire to listen to the rationale behind why you are allocating more funds to a global fixed income manager.... So, discretion, models, and simplicity rule our practice.



Upside - ease of use, more time spent with clients, more time on investment research, and adding quality clients.



Downside - multiple trades all done within a few minutes.... hope and prayers that it always works! (and it has, so far)



My firm has 7 members - three of us serve on the investment committee. We meet monthly (sometimes more frequently depending on conditions) concerning any model changes. We refine our decisions on a macro-level, then carry out the specific fund allocations and changes on the model level. Trades are done the following afternoon.



I can't imagine EVER going back to the way it was done at the wirehouse - horribly inefficient!



C







Captain:

What do you do with clients that have sort term vs. long term gains.  When I was running the advisory group at JPM, some clients were very annoyed because they were two days away from the short vs. long.  I have found some tools that help with this rebalancing problem, but they are expensive.

thanks,
ash
www.FAfreedom.com -  The Breakaway Expers

Jun 17, 2009 12:14 am

Ash -



Not that serious of an issue. Especially at this point, since any changes we made last year generated capital losses.



But, going forward, we have a trading system that would minimize on ST gains in favor of LT profits. I don't see it as much of an issue with our practice.



Now..... if we can just find some profits.....



C

Jun 17, 2009 8:08 am
Captain:

Ash -



Not that serious of an issue. Especially at this point, since any changes we made last year generated capital losses.



But, going forward, we have a trading system that would minimize on ST gains in favor of LT profits. I don't see it as much of an issue with our practice.



Now..... if we can just find some profits.....



C



Is this something you built internally?  Tamarack (sp) is the system I found that has a lot of great features, but you are looking at $20K to get started.  It is well worth the money, but I think most advisors would look for a simple solution like you are describing. 

ash